Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Yup, that's 5 year old me posing in the kitchen with my long lanky arms...lol. I don't know what my parents were thinking with that wallpaper, pheeewww chile!
I loved being in the kitchen, taking in everything my parents were doing but mostly getting in the way.
I have two first loves, food being one of them. Sundays were always my favourite. There was always a big spread. Two or 3
different kinds of meat dishes, potato or macaroni salad, baked mac & cheese, some kind of rice dish and of course some stew peas or beans. Being OCD, I always ate my food in sections. Rice and peas first because I couldn't eat the dry rice without the gravy. Then it was my potato salad and I always left the meat for last. I still do this, to this day...minus the meat of course.
Growing up in my hood
We lived in a small two bedroom apartment in an Italian and Portuguese neighborhood . We were the only black family on our street. It was my dad, mom, my older brother and myself. My brother and I shared a bedroom. I remember we had this wooden bunk bed with a ladder.
Being the youngest, I was spoiled and used to terrorize my brother by kicking my feet up on the bottom of his mattress through the slates of his bunk. That used to piss him off. What are little sisters for?! It was always tit for tat with us. I was a germaphobe at a very young age. He would purposely step on my bed with his dirty socks to get onto to the top bunk. Do you know how dirty 8 year old boys socks are...so gross!
My West Indian parents
My parents were born in Trinidad and Tobago. My dad in Tobago and my mom in Trinidad, dual islands.
My dad is one of 6 siblings. He immigrated to Toronto in the 70's, while 3 of his siblings immigrated to the US and the other two stayed back in Trinidad.
This brings me to my other first love, my Dad! My Dad has always been the jack of all trades. He was a tailor and an electrician back home and when he made the decision to move to Canada his tailoring is what ultimately got him to stay. He was good at everything! Refurbishing cars, gardening, making clothes and cooking! My mom was a good cook but my dad could throw down. I was always peeping in the pot and I was his taste taster. I felt so proud when he used to take the spoon and scoop out whatever he was making and have me taste for my approval. "Hmmmm, it's missing a little something" and my dad would laugh and I would giggle, "it's not missing a ting" in his strong Trini accent.
At the age of 12, I asked my dad if I could cook my first meal on my own. A Trinidadian national dish called Pelau. A dish that consists of rice, peas and either chicken or beef. He directed me the whole way through. As I took the spoon to give him a taste, "hmmmm, it's missing something" and we both laugh. I will forever be, daddy's little girl.
Mammy, I called her Granny
In 2018 we lost the matriarch of our family, my beloved grandmother. My grandmother was beautiful inside and out! She was funny as hell, loved to wine and would cuss you out in a hot second...literally! My granny was always the life of the party showing off her dance moves. She loved her grandchildren dearly. She was a great story teller and she could talk your ear off. When you thought she was done, she had something more insightful to say. She loved arts and crafts but more importantly she loved to cook and boy could she eat. That's where I get my eating habits from.
My dad and my granny had a very special bond and he was always 'my boy" to her. Her first love. My fondest memories were always around Christmas time. That's when my dad would make all the yummy treats my grandmother had passed down to him. The bread, the sweets and all the savoury dishes we devoured. I was always there to help stir or lick the bowl...what little kid didn't love that :).
The same recipes I love, passed down from my granny to my dad I made often. Now as a vegan, I try to recreate those recipes. My granny always on my mind!